This local production by Los Angeles’ Fox O&O is the Hispanic version of “In Living Color” or “Saturday Night Live.” As such, it provides an often amusing, occasionally enlightening view of Latino culture — a good start with room for growth.
Taped at the Mayan Theater in downtown L.A., show is aimed at Anglo and Latin viewers; even when cast is speaking Spanish, it’s easy for those who don’t know the language to understand what’s going on.
Stars are the locally based comic trio known as Culture Clash: long-haired Richard Montoya, mustachioed Ric Salinas and shaven-headed Herbert Siguenza.
They’ve developed a strong, two-pronged local following: With plenty of fans at the grass roots level, they’ve also been adopted by such organizations as PBS , the La Jolla Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum, all of which have or will produce their work.
Like “In Living Color,” show often mocks cultural stereotypes while preserving them — Hispanics still love their Chevys, evidently, so Tito Larriva’s house band is called the Impalas.
Like most TV sketch comedy shows, some skits go on too long, some don’t really end at all, some qualify as hard-hitting social commentary, and some are just silly.
Typical this time around is the Farmworkers’ Home Exercise Video, with straw-hatted “Feltejon” and “Tarzan” demonstrating “The Cherry Pick” (reaching high) and “The Lettuce Pick” (stooping low); a subcontext of rage at the migrant farmworker’s continuing plight is there for those who care to see it.
Less effective is the “Vatos N the ‘Hood” segment, with the three Clash members standing on a street corner, wasting their time and the viewers’ — though characters could be developed into something as series progresses.
“Culture Clash News,” their version of SNL’s “Weekend Update,” is even lamer than the original has become.
Actress Rosana de Soto appears in an insert, giving what’s promised to be a weekly Spanish lesson, and Marga Gomez turns in a good standup seg describing how she’s learning Spanish by watching Mexican soap operas on television.
Gomez and Gloria Estefan have much in common, the comic notes: “We’re both Latina, and neither of us can dance so good.”
“Culture Clash” has a self-congratulatory air (“Don’t adjust your sets — you are seeing three Latinos on television”) and five more shows to prove whether that’s warranted.